For several decades now, science’s grand challenges have dominated the allocation of computing resources resulting in a focus on high performance (or capability) computing and the creation of national HPC centres for the physical resources.

The increasing provision of capacity services through cloud computing and virtual machines opens up an avenue for the development of computationally demanding applications for which scale is more of an issue than pure numerical calculation power.

The objectives of this project are:

  1. to develop a methodology for the specification and creation of customized virtual machines to deliver Platform as a Service (PaaS) functionality
  2. to utilize Amazon’s EC2 service to configure and deploy instances of different kinds of PaaS (access provided)
  3. to demonstrate the application of this technology to large-scale social simulation (through an existing simulation) using the Jason agent platform.

Needs: strong programming skills, especially Java; good knowledge of networking; capacity to work with large software frameworks;


Quadcopters can be seen as a form of robot that can move in three dimensions. Of course, this complicates a lot of things, navigation especially, but there are also gains in that it can be easier to approximate the location of the robot relatively accurately after a movement, because there are fewer mechanical interactions (such as friction) affecting motion. There are potentially a large number of projects that can be put forward around the problems – and opportunities – created by UAVs, hence this generic project proposal. Here are some specific ideas, some of which may overlap, but other proposals are welcome:

  • Steering multiple UAVs using gesture and providing usable feedback to a human operator (but see 2013/14 projects by Paul Johnson and Jack Franklin first)
  • Convoy creation and management with UAVs
  • Feeding stations for UAVs to recharge themselves
  • Vision analysis for SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping)
  • Surveying of buildings by automatic flight plan construction – needs on-the-fly (!) adaptation to capture complicated features (builds on 2013/14 project by David Paris)
  • Registration of visible and infra-red images to construct thermal surveys of buildings
  • Mapping the YAdrone API to work with the mikrokopter flight controller (NEW!)

The supervision team for these projects includes: Matt Brown, Julian Padget. Others tbc.